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Fixing That Jet Lighter You Love

Introduction: Fixing That Jet Lighter You Love

So I was fixing my jet lighter (by now a fairly archaic design but a very good one and it only cost me£1 at a car boot sale) I used to fix antique lighters with my dad, thankfully jet lighters tend to be a bit more standard for repairs.

So In this I’ll cover diagnosis, repair and also dismantling and assembly (most lighters designs’ are a common principle. )
Ok so i got a slightly better camera than my phone, it’s an ancient canon powershot A60, only 2MP but check out the macro in the pics, it was top of the range once upon a time and it shows.

Step 1: So What You’ll Need for This

– a small philips head screwdriver (the tiny ones) it almost alway philips head.
-a penknife or a small flathead screwdriver (for adjustments)
-a pair of pliers, needle nose are great her but I can do it with my fake leatherman start to finish (make damn sure the pliers aren’t magnetized it’s annoying)
-a safety pin or some thin tough wire or a drawing pin (you’ll see what I mean if it comes up)

-some sturdy wire about 24awg (anything that fits will do (again you’ll understand pretty quick) is handy
-lighter gas, really helps diagnosis, in fact try the first.
-You may need rubber tubing or a piezo spark depending how you broke it (if you dropped I already know whats wrong. the lighter in this is my drinking lighter because it’s made of metal and I know how to fix it)

Step 2: Ok Diagnosis Time Doctor

First put gas in the lighter, you should have done this already but this helps us determine alot.

Fill it with gas and listen, it may leak for a up to 30 seconds but that’s ok as long as it stops.

Push down the button, is there gas coming out and is there a definite click from the spark (if yes to both this will be easy)

If there’s no gas coming out at the nozzle but it’s going somewhere then the connection has been broken probably nothing more than the flexible gas line has slipped off the seat of the reservoir end (there’s more room here so it fall off that end but it’s easy to fix anyway)

If you push the button all the way down and no click go to the shop and buy a really crappy cheap electric lighter, not a bic though, their piezios have no wire.

try turning down the gas a bit (sometimes the gas can’t ignite because it going too fast for the tiny arc to heat. This always happens if you set the lighter when it’s hot because it starts easier but wont once it’s cooled down again.

All of these things are curable, this lighter hasn’t many original parts, at one point I was going to hotrod a second nozzle in but There’s no room, eventually I’ll make an instructable about how to make your own jet lighter.

Step 3: Opening Your Lighter Up

This step just tells you how to take it all apart.

First look on the bottom, there should be a small (mostly likely philips head) screw not far from the filler valve, unscrew it, usually that is the only thing holding a lighter together, now pull the casing down off the rest (hold on to the cap and carefully pull the casing off) now you should see the guts of your lighter, there’s probably 2 pins holding the assembly together. Enter the safety pin, Use the pin or wire to push the pin out of its hole.

now try moving everything apart, careful not to lose anything (yes my pins are made from steel wire but shh the screw came off a tiny circuit board, i didn’t lose it, the screw was too long to start with.)

Check the image, the parts should be recognizable, and the note will explain all.

Step 4: Adjusting the Spark

This is easily the most common problem with jet lighters because they have metal bodies.

Basically the piezo is grounding out to the body or the chassis.

All we need to do is move the wire out and put it against the nozzle so it’s touching it, that’ll be guaranteeing near 100% performance in lighting. The first picture here shows the spark wire end pulled out and away a bit to so we get a clear idea of where we can put it. Wrapping it around the nozzle is good if there are no close metal body parts but the best is definitely doing it like picture 2. You should have kept all the pins, but really you should hav just left it together had this been the case. Before putting the case on, see if the lighter fires up if so slide the case on again and see if it still goes, if yes screw it back on and go light something up with it (In my case a Marlboro Red but in yours it may be a fuse. )

Step 5: So I Did That, But I’m Not Getting Anywhere

Simply check where gas is going by pushing down on the lever for the gas valve on the reservoir, look carefully along the gas line, you should see something similar to ‘heat wiggles’ (from the change in desity between gas and air) if theres a leak, I you have a crappy BBQ lighter kicking around then cannibalize that for some gas line (there’s enough for five or six replacements) and if you needed it they’re a great source of igniters due to the extra long cable.

If the gas still isn’t getting out the nozzle then the nozzle’s clogged, symptoms include the lighter bursting into flame for a second during use. take some thin wire or a pin and put it through the nozzle to clear it.

At this point I can’t think of much else to go wrong, if the gas filler valve leaks when you fill it up then tighten it. If everything works but the lighter won’t light or can’t hold a flame turn down the gas flow a bit. If the flame sputters and has trouble keeping going then it’s too weak to stay above the nozzle, turn the gas flow up a little. Finally we put it back together.

If there’s any problem I have missed comment me and I’ll add steps, to be honest I can’t think of anything other than components going wrong after this.

Step 6: Putting It Back Together

Right now we rebuild the lighter

From the picture you should be able to tell your own parts easily enough.

This list goes bottom to top in stacking up the components again, refer to the pictures to make full sense

– Reservoir
-gas valve lever (best put in before piezo for convenience
-button cover/s
-lid top assembly (make sure the gas tubes go back in the right place)
-slide the cover back on and screw on

Step 7: I Do Believe We’re Done

Again if there’s anything I missed or any questions comment me and I’ll do my best to help.

Fixing That Jet Lighter You Love: So I was fixing my jet lighter (by now a fairly archaic design but a very good one and it only cost me£1 at a car boot sale) I used to fix antique lighters with my dad, thankfully jet lighters tend to be a bit more standard for repairs. So In this …

The Best Flashlight

Updated July 30, 2020

We are planning some new tests in this guide, and we stand behind our current picks.

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For a high-end flashlight at an entry-level price, get the ThruNite Archer 2A V3, which has a lot in common with competitors that are far more expensive. We settled on it after spending three weeks in the New Hampshire woods with 23 flashlights, draining almost 80 batteries, researching the topic for over 50 hours, reading through countless threads at a number of flashlight enthusiast forums, and speaking to a man who has personally reviewed almost 200 flashlights

Our pick

ThruNite Archer 2A V3

The best flashlight for most people

The ThruNite has a wide range of brightness settings, an easy and versatile two-button interface, and an overall satisfying design.

Buying Options

May be out of stock

The ThruNite has the widest range of brightness settings of any light we tested, including a very dim and very useful firefly mode, and a bright setting that illuminated trees 500 feet away. Like many of the best flashlights, the light has a two-button interface that makes toggling through the brightness levels one-handed easy. The blinding strobe mode is useful in an emergency—but the ThruNite’s design makes it easy to avoid activating the strobe during regular use, an advantage over most competitors. The ThruNite (available in cool white or neutral white) shares a number of other features found on more-expensive lights: It doesn’t roll on a flat surface, it stands upright on its rear end, it can survive a 1½-meter drop or full immersion in water, and it has a memory function as well as a momentary-on feature that turns the light on and off with a half-press of the rear button. Its two-AA-powered beam pattern produces such good overall visibility that, even after trying all the other lights, we reached for this first when we headed into the woods.


Manker E12

Almost identical, almost as good

The Manker has almost all the same features as the ThruNite, but the low setting isn’t as low, and its price is usually slightly higher than our pick’s.

Buying Options

If the ThruNite is not available, we also like the Manker E12. This light is very similar to the ThruNite down to the two-button interface and the four brightness levels. It also shares the nice wide-angle beam, the momentary-on, the memory feature, the antiroll body design, and the full waterproof rating. The only significant difference is that the Manker’s lowest setting is brighter than the ThruNite’s, and we really preferred our pick’s ability to go very dim. Plus, the Manker usually costs a few dollars more than our pick.

Budget pick

Mini Maglite Pro

A regular old flashlight

The Mini Maglite has nothing in the way of features and a slightly awkward interface, but it covers the basics better than other models at this price.

Buying Options

If you’re interested in getting a quality light for as little an investment as possible, we like the Mini Maglite Pro. It’s a very simple light with one brightness setting (and no strobe). It turns on with the twist of the head, which is a little awkward, especially after we got used to the two button style on the ThruNite. It doesn’t project light as far as the ThruNite and the beam isn’t as wide, but it’s enough for general use. The Maglite is also not waterproof and it seemed ready to roll off every surface we put it on. It usually costs around $20, which is as low as we would recommend for a flashlight—any cheaper, and you get into a product category that’s difficult to recommend due to inconsistency and other issues. We really feel the upgrade to the ThruNite is worth it, but if you just want a basic no-frills flashlight at a lower cost, this Maglite is a simpler alternative.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

ThruNite Archer 2A V3

The best flashlight for most people

The ThruNite has a wide range of brightness settings, an easy and versatile two-button interface, and an overall satisfying design.

Buying Options

May be out of stock


Manker E12

Almost identical, almost as good

The Manker has almost all the same features as the ThruNite, but the low setting isn’t as low, and its price is usually slightly higher than our pick’s.

Buying Options
Budget pick

Mini Maglite Pro

A regular old flashlight

The Mini Maglite has nothing in the way of features and a slightly awkward interface, but it covers the basics better than other models at this price.

Buying Options

The research

Why you should trust us

We spent about 25 hours combing through the online forums of flashlight enthusiasts (who call themselves “flashaholics”). Chief among these sites is CandlePowerForums, but we also read through threads at BudgetLightForum, The Flashlight Forum, and FlashlightNews. These forums are filled with people who are really into flashlights, and it’s not uncommon for them to own 20 or 30 (or more) flashlights.

We spent about 25 hours combing through the online forums of flashlight enthusiasts (who call themselves “flashaholics”).

One of our most valuable sources was Dave Wise of Layman’s Flashlight Reviews, a website dedicated to flashlights. Wise has reviewed flashlights since 2007, and in that time has taken a hands-on look at nearly 200 different models. With this extensive experience, he told us he “probably [has] at least a little idea of what works and what doesn’t.”

We also spent a lot of time reading through the impressive work of Selfbuilt, an independent flashlight reviewer who puts together incredibly comprehensive flashlight reviews (see here for a taste). We used his site as a reference point for some of the more technical questions we pursued, and tried to conduct an interview, but scheduling didn’t work out.

As for me, I’m a daily flashlight user with nightly trips to the woodshed and chicken coop as well as regular walks in the woods at night. I also take a very hands-on approach with my home and seem to always be using one of my half dozen flashlights to look behind the water heater, into the crawl space, or to be able to see my boiler control. In addition, I have three small children and find myself constantly looking under the couch for lost toys.

How we picked

A phone flashlight works great for a quick light around the house or a short walk to the car, but in most other cases, it’s better to have a dedicated flashlight. A stand-alone tool gives you far more power, versatility, stamina, ergonomics, and durability—if you drop a good flashlight on the street or in a puddle, it has a much better chance of survival than a smartphone.

When speaking to our flashlight expert, Dave Wise, about the best features found in general-use flashlights, we decided to seek out models that use two AA batteries; have a nice, wide beam; and provide a good selection of brightness levels, including the very low “moonlight” setting (also called, “firefly” in some models). He recommended that the flashlight have a strobe feature for emergency use but stressed that it needed to be separate from the regular brightness levels. Our research turned up a few other good features to have: A flashlight should be waterproof and designed so that it doesn’t easily roll. Also, in order to be reliable, a good flashlight should be able to hold a constant level of brightness (something that only the better ones can do).

LED flashlights with two AA batteries offer the best combination of brightness, run time, and convenience. Wise said that for the non-enthusiast “AA are definitely the place to look these days.” Selfbuilt, another prominent flashlight reviewer, discusses two-AA lights on his recommendations page, and writes, “With the much greater efficiency of modern LEDs, you don’t need to rely on clunky 2xD or 2xC cell incandescent lights any more (which were never very reliable to start with).” We also avoided atypical sizes such as the CR123A, which give many high-end flashlights superior performance. Instead, we wanted something inexpensive and widely available. For the absolute best performance, experts recommend rechargeable AAs, although we also liked that these lights could take any basic AAs in an emergency (or an extended power outage).

Through our research it was clear that the two-AA setup has a better balance of power and run time than a single-AA or any of the AAA configurations you often find with lights on the lower end of the quality scale. 1 AAA lights tend to have a lot more bulk and can’t be rotated in a hand as easily. The two-AA battery configuration still makes the flashlights a little large for a pants pocket—a lot of enthusiasts value compact everyday carry (EDC) designs, but to balance power, run time, and price, we didn’t make an EDC size a priority.

Flashlights have either a reflector or a zoom lens. This dictates the light’s beam pattern—basically, how the light looks as it projects from the flashlight—and we prefer reflectors over zoom lenses. Generally speaking, a reflector gives you a better view of what you want to see. It’s a shiny metal cone around the LED emitter, often with an orange-peel texture that evens out the spread of the beam. Reflectors produce both a center hot spot of concentrated light and a lesser wide diameter light around it (called the spill beam). The zoom design is a lens in front of the LED that concentrates the light like a magnifying glass concentrates a sunbeam. These lenses usually slide forward and back, giving the option of a small focused spotlight (the forward position) or a wider diffused area light (the back position). Unlike a reflector, the zoom can’t show both the concentrated hotspot and spill beam at the same time.

Enthusiasts tend to refer to zoom-style flashlights with the somewhat disparaging name “zoomies.”

Comparing the two designs, Wise favored reflectors, saying that most people will “grow to appreciate a flood light far more than one with tight focus.” He explained, “Everyone starts off wanting to light up trees at the far end of a field [with a zoom lens], but eventually people just want to use the light to check the oil after dark, or set up the tent when they got to the campground too late, or just take the dog for a walk through the woods at night. These are all tasks better served by seeing everything around you as equally as possible.”

Last, the zoom lens is almost never seen on high-end lights, which “says something about how useful it really is,” Wise added. This is not an unusual opinion within the flashlight world. In looking over the threads at CandlePowerForum, we noticed that many enthusiasts tend to refer to zoom-style flashlights with the somewhat disparaging name “zoomies.” Reflector lights also typically have a higher degree of water resistance, and some can survive full submersion—with more moving parts, zoom lights can’t take it.

A wide variety of brightness levels is another feature to look for in a light. Wise told us, “the brighter lights get, the more I appreciate lower output modes.” There are a number of benefits here. “The lower you go, the less damage is done to your night vision, and the longer, sometimes exponentially longer, your battery lasts. A light that lasts for an hour or two running 500+ lumens may last for more than a day at 5-10 lumens, and some have crazy low Moon modes that can last upwards of a month.” For Wise, these low modes are not just for specialized use. “Being a father of small children, I find I use the super low modes literally every day, generally more than any other feature. This is usually to get dressed for work every morning without waking people, or to check on sleeping children at night.” If you use flashlights in winter, the reflection off the snow is intense enough to destroy night vision in the brighter modes. The bottom line on all of this is that we didn’t put a premium on mega-high lumen counts.

“The brighter lights get, the more I appreciate lower output modes.”
—Dave Wise, Layman’s Flashlight Reviews

A strobe setting is a great feature to have—useful during roadside emergencies, running at night, or even self-defense 2 —but it’s not something you want to deal with during normal use. Wise said, “If you have to cycle through them all the time, then they get really annoying.” To explain: In most of the tested lights (and nearly all of the inexpensive ones), the strobe is positioned as just another brightness setting, so the light toggle goes: high, medium, low, strobe, SOS. This means that in order to go from high to low and back to high, you need to cycle through the strobe and the SOS settings. It’s blinding, it’s annoying, and after it happens two or three times, you’ll want to throw the flashlight deep, deep into the woods. It’s such a frustrating design that it became a simple pass/fail test for us.

Flashlights can get very expensive, so for cost, we set a price limit of about $40. There is an enormous world of flashlights that cost more, but at this price level, we knew we could find an entry-level version of an enthusiast light that offered some of the most important features standard on the higher-end lights. Unfortunately, our cutoff excludes many manufacturers that are favorites of the flashlight crowd (as well as among policemen, firefighters, and others in public safety), notably Fenix, Elzetta, SureFire, Foursevens, and Olight.

After our research, we chose a wide variety of lights to test, focusing most of our attention on two-AA models. We also tested a number of outliers; some four-AAA lights and some one-AA lights in order to see if there were situations where they would be an adequate choice. Our selection included models from Maglite, Coast, Brightex, ThruNite, Nitecore, Manker, and Streamlight.

Also, knowing that people often want to purchase a lot of flashlights at a very low cost—to load one each in the glove box, basement, garage, and toolbox—we examined a large selection of inexpensive flashlights (under $20), all with very high levels of customer reviews, and some even sold in packages of two or three. These were all “zoomies” taking either single A or three AAA batteries. Here’s why we couldn’t recommend any of them.

How we tested

To look at battery drain over time and comparative light output, we set up a simple “bounce test.” Using an Extech LT45 LED Light Meter and flashlights loaded with new Energizer Max batteries, 3 we positioned each light inside a large sealed box with the flashlight at one end shining across the box onto its opposite wall. We placed the light meter behind the flashlight, so it registered only the bounced illumination, and not the direct beam. We took readings at the 30-second mark, the five-minute mark, and the 10-minute mark, and then in 10-minute increments after that, up to 90 minutes (if the battery lasted that long). During this test, the flashlights were all set to the highest brightness, and the zoom lights were set to their wide beam mode.

The purpose of this test was simply comparative, and not to prove or dispute manufacturer brightness claims, which are tested in a very specific lab setting (according to ANSI/NEMA FL1 [PDF]). What we got was an idea of how battery drain affects performance—with the better models, it’s not linear—and a sense of how flashlights with the same battery configuration compare with one another with regard to general brightness levels and speed of battery drain.

We had other ideas for structured tests, but we took a step back and decided on a more holistic approach to our testing. Instead of taking more meter readings in a sealed lab-like dark room, we spent night after night after night wandering around the dark New Hampshire woods (and more than once caught the reflection of animal eyes looking back at us). We tested in the weeks surrounding a new moon and in an area with zero light pollution. We felt this unstructured testing gave us the most useful gauge of overall usability, beam spread, and beam distance, and it really helped us understand what each light had to offer from a practical standpoint.

And as for light output, every single one of these lights is pretty impressive. Of the tested flashlights, there were very few that couldn’t shed at least a little light on the trees at the far end of a field, over 500 feet away. So oddly enough, brightness ended up being a factor, but not the biggest one. Plus, to paraphrase Wise, the brightest beam that throws light the farthest might not be all that practical for regular use.

Our pick: ThruNite Archer 2A V3

Our pick

ThruNite Archer 2A V3

The best flashlight for most people

The ThruNite has a wide range of brightness settings, an easy and versatile two-button interface, and an overall satisfying design.

Buying Options

May be out of stock

The ThruNite Archer 2A V3 is in many ways like a high-end flashlight at an affordable price. Taken individually, its features aren’t unique, but the ThruNite combines the best of what we saw among all of the lights in this price range. It has a two-button interface that makes quickly cycling through the four brightness levels easy—one of which is the very useful, very low firefly mode. The strobe setting is not part of the brightness toggle so it doesn’t get in the way of regular use. Like most of the better lights we found, the beam simultaneously projects a long-distance hot spot and a dimmer wide-angle light, which gives a great view of the surroundings. For durability, it has a high-quality fit and finish and can handle full submersion in water and a 1½-meter drop. We also like that the body is designed so that it won’t roll. After we finished most of our testing, the ThruNite was what we kept reaching for when we headed into the woods.

The ThruNite has an interesting two-button interface. At the rear of the light is a button that turns it on and off (often called a “tail switch”). Once the light is on, the brightness levels are controlled by a second button up at the head of the light. Prior to testing we had never used a two-button light, but we soon realized how convenient it is. Holding the light with a thumb on top and fingers cradling the bottom, we could toggle through the brightness levels quickly and one-handed with just a few taps of the thumb. (This also works holding it in a pencil grip.) Many of the other lights have the on-off and brightness levels all controlled at the tail switch, which makes you reorient the light in your hands, or use a second hand to change the setting. Of the tested lights, only our runner-up, the Manker E12, has a similar two-button setup.

The ThruNite also has what’s called “momentary on,” which means that the light activates with a half press of the tail switch and stays on for as long as the switch is held. This feature, found on some of the other high-end lights we tested, is convenient for quickly turning the light on and off without fully engaging it. In addition, the light has a memory, so it always turns on at the brightness setting that was last used. The nicer lights, including our runner-up, have this feature, but the others (under $30) usually default to the brightest setting, which is often too bright and blinding, especially if you know you’re looking for the lowest setting.

After we finished most of our testing, the ThruNite was what we kept reaching for when we headed into the woods.

The ThruNite has four brightness levels: high, medium, low, and firefly. With the high, we were able to make out the trees at the end of a 500-foot-long field. At the low end, the firefly felt barely brighter than a full moon, so it was perfect for reading a map or checking on a sleeping child. It’s so low that we could hardly see a wall 10 or 15 feet in front of us, but we could still make our way around in the dark. When we initially heard about these über-low levels often found on high-end flashlights, we rolled our eyes thinking it was a gimmick, but when we got the light in our hands, we ended up using it all the time. Of the tested lights, the ThruNite offered the lowest of these low settings, which we feel is a very nice feature.

Not surprisingly, the brightness levels dictate battery drain. According to ThruNite’s website, the high setting has a run time of 96 minutes and the firefly mode can last a staggering 28 days. These numbers were taken with Eneloop Pro 2550 mAh batteries (NiMh), which offer better performance than the more common alkaline batteries. In our tests with Energizer Max batteries, which are alkaline, the high mode lasted around 45 minutes, so a little less than half the output with the NiMh batteries. According to ThruNite, the low setting lasts 14 days, so with an alkaline we assume that translates to around six or seven days, which is still a considerable amount of time.

Having the multiple levels of brightness and understanding how much each one offers in terms of battery life, left us with a feeling of control over the flashlight. On single-setting flashlights, all you get is a set amount of time and that’s it. ThruNite allows you to only use the amount of light that’s necessary. As Wise mentioned, we found ourselves operating in the lower modes most of the time, with only the occasional jump to the high level. Walking around a house during a power outage, there is really no reason to go above the low setting.

And exactly how the battery drains on the ThruNite is another one of its high points. The ThruNite has what is called circuit regulation, so the battery feeds a constant amount of power to the LED. This means that on the highest setting, the ThruNite maintains a consistent level of brightness for about 45 minutes. 4 At that point the high setting kicks out and only the lower settings work. This stepping down continues for about 20 to 25 minutes. We saw similar results from the other two-AA lights from the high-end manufacturers we tested (Manker, Nitecore, and Streamlight), but other lights like the Craftsman and all of the AAA lights we looked at had a more linear battery drain. As the chart shows, they start out bright and slowly and consistently fade down to nothing.

The ThruNite also has a high-quality beam pattern. Around the LED is a reflector with an orange-peel texture, which provides a focused hot spot and a not-as-bright spill beam surrounding it. In the woods, we could clearly make out tree branches over 300 feet away and at the same time, the area directly around us was lit for full visibility. As a reflector light, the beam pattern on the ThruNite was pretty comparable with that of the other similar designs we tried.

As for the strobe setting, the ThruNite mercifully tucks it away from the regular brightness settings, yet keeps it fully accessible for when needed. The strobe activates with a long press of the brightness button. It’s an ideal setup, and given that it’s a feature that may be used in an emergency, this simple activation is conceivable in a high-stress, high-adrenaline situation. We consider this separation between strobe and the standard brightness settings to be an essential design element, and very few lights in the under $40 range do it successfully. The Manker E12, our runner-up, has the same setup, but in most of the other tested lights, the strobe is just one of the toggle settings. This is not only annoying in regular circumstances, but we consider having to cycle through settings to find the strobe a potential risk in an emergency.

The ThruNite is about the size of a big marker; a shape typical of the two-AA lights we tested. It’s a comfortable size to handle and it’s easy to flip it around in the fingers depending on how we wanted to hold it. A nice knurled pattern around the body offers a little extra grip, which was useful when the light got wet. It also has a hex shape up at the lens end, so it won’t roll off a rock or any other sloped surface. The light is also small enough to hold between our teeth, which was useful for quick instances when both of our hands were occupied, such as during a quick electrical fix in the basement.

It also has a slightly crenelated bezel designed for self-defense. This is a small series of ridges that project from around the lens of the flashlight. We’re a little skeptical that it’s going to give much of an advantage over a non-crenelated light in terms of self-defense, but we do like that it recesses the lens a bit, giving it more protection if the light is dropped right on the nose.

Speaking of a drop, the ThruNite is rated for a 1½-meter fall. Many flashlights we tested also came with an IPX rating, which is the standard for protection against water intrusion. The ThruNite has the highest rating of eight, meaning it can be completely submerged in water over 1½ meters deep (which we did a number of times to no ill effect). Both of these ratings were found on the tested lights from Manker and Nitecore.

The ThruNite comes with a lanyard, a pocket clip, a replacement cap for the tail switch, and two additional O-rings for the battery compartment. Minor but nice finish details make it feel like a high-quality tool—the threading on the battery compartment cap is smoother and cleaner-feeling than the rough threads on cheaper lights, and a knurled texture on the grip helps keep it secure when it’s wet. The light is available in cool white and neutral white, which are hard to distinguish side by side. The cool white has a bluish tint and the neutral white has a more yellow tint, as this video explains. We tested the cool white and thought it was one of the warmer lights we saw.

Last, the ThruNite’s warranty is a little nicer than average. It has a two-year free replacement if “problems develop with normal use.” Beyond that is a lifetime limited maintenance policy, with the owner of the light paying for only shipping and parts. Of the tested lights, only the Nitecore had a longer warranty, stretching to a full five years, followed by a limited lifetime warranty.

Flashlight reviewer JohnnyMac (founder of TheFlashlightForum), tried the ThruNite Archer 2A V3 and wrote, “If you are looking for a small, reliable, well built light on a budget from a quality manufacturer then the Archer series of lights deserve your consideration.” Specifically, he noted the “excellent build quality,” and the “great output levels and battery versatility” and wrote that, “it’s hard to beat them for the price of $30 just each.” At another prominent review site, reviewer Selfbuilt names the ThruNite Archer 2A V2 (the previous version) as one of the few budget lights he recommends (the ThruNite Archer is seen as a budget model among flashlight aficionados).

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The ThruNite is an excellent flashlight, but we did have a few very minor quibbles with it.

One of the high points of the light, the dimness of the firefly mode, also creates a problem. In any kind of daylight, it’s almost impossible to notice that it’s even on. On more than one occasion, we used it in a dark room and then put it down in a lit room and forgot it was on. The good news here is that in firefly mode, the battery drain is so minimal that it would take weeks for it to empty a full battery, giving ample time to notice the error. Still, it’s something to keep an eye on if you become reliant on the lowest mode like we have.

Also, the belt clip is a bit underwhelming. It works fine, but it feels a little on the flimsy side, especially compared with the one on our runner-up, the Manker E12, which is much more robust.

We spent three weeks in the woods with 23 flashlights, and researched rigorously to find the best option. Here’s what we recommend.